I did two things I never do today. I left my car open at the gas station and I threw my cell phone on the seat. I walked into Loaf N Jug and I could see my car clearly from the counter. When I returned to my car I realized my phone was missing. I dumped the contents of my shoulder bag/purse on the seat, but no phone. I checked under the seats and I looked under the car. Nothing. I went back in the store and asked if anyone had seen it. Nope.  I borrowed the store phone and called Steve – he was in the middle of a presentation at work, but he said he’d call my phone. It’s important to note I have Steve’s ringtone set to the most obnoxious one available. It’s loud and sounds just like a General Quarters Warning on a Navy ship or a fire alarm in a building. I don’t want to miss his calls.

I’d thrown away a soda water can and some old receipts on my way into the store. So I dug in the disgusting receptacle outdoors and even enlisted the help of one of the clerks who was taking a smoke break. No phone. I backed the car up very slowly in case it was under the car. Nothing there and then it was starting to rain buckets. I knew I had the phone in the car before I went into the store because I was responding to a message about dog care for Sabrina and Frank for our trip to Portland in November. I had no doubt it had been stolen and then I remembered that during my initial and frantic search, I saw a man with an iphone much like my own in his hands in front of the store. He had been looking intently at the screen. It was a long shot, but something about the way he was looking at the phone struck me as suspicious. However, on any other day it wouldn’t have been anything I’d pay attention to. He was long gone by the time I recalled the incident.

I got home and messaged Steve on FB. He and I both logged in to the FIND MY PHONE app and sure enough my phone was traveling up Colorado Highway 402 (lots of farms along this road) toward Loveland. Then it stopped around 14th and Taft.  I’m pretty sure that Steve’s ringtone scared the heck out of the thief and he pitched it. No warning shows on the phone until you report the phone as lost. Steve said we’d find it later, but he had to finish his presentation.

Well, I tend to be on the tenacious side, so I printed a satellite version of the area where the phone was tracked and it turned out to be a tiny map, but I have no idea how to do a screen shot on my new hackintosh so it had to do. I got in the car and according to the map in hand, I was pretty sure the roofs of the buildings I was looking at were King Soopers and Chase Bank. I calculated it was on 14th just beyond King Soopers. The rain was really coming down at that point. My shoes, socks and pants were already soaked. I flagged down a guy on a bicycle and asked him to keep a look out for my phone. He looked at me with a bit of disbelief when I told him it had been stolen and it was “around here somewhere.” “How do you know that?”, he asked and I explained and presented the soggy map. “I don’t think you are on the right road – you need to be on Taft – I’m pretty sure that’s the old Agilent building right here………..” I was back in the car and zoomed through the thankfully open gates of the empty building’s driveway and parked in the huge lonely lot while taking note of the NO TRESPASSING – NO PARKING signs all around me.

My heart sank. There was a huge grassy hill I had to climb down and water was collecting everywhere. A tall black iron fence enclosed the huge campus. I walked the edge of the fence which ended at a deep ditch where water was now rushing through. Shit. I looked through the fence and up the ditch and decided I’d have better luck on the road looking down. I was so cold. Colorado rain is freezing and my sweatshirt, pants, shoes and socks were soaked through and my hair was dripping. I felt pretty pathetic. I walked down the hill and up the other in my slippery canvas shoes back to the car hoping I still had a pair of rain boots in the trunk. I may have missed the gym today, but I definitely was getting my cardio while my poor knees were grinding. Yes! The boots were in there along with two extra jackets – one with a hood! (you learn to keep extra clothing in your car when you live in Colorado – it’s all about layering)

I didn’t feel anymore hopeful, but I walked the guardrail carefully looking back and forth from the ditch to the street. Big trucks passed me throwing street water over me like a big “screw you” The gutter was gushing and if my phone was in the street it was underway like a tiny submarine and positively ruined. There were so many muddy holes and areas of tall grass – I was resigned to accepting my phone was gone forever. Damn. I went back and forth for about a quarter of a mile trying imagine the frustrated thief tossing it out the window. Did he have a good arm – good enough to hurl it into the small river below me? Did he throw it out the driver’s side? Then I still had a chance. Steve had no idea where I was and I could have easily slipped and slid down the ditch. I thought I should give it up – I was wearing my glasses and there wasn’t a dry spot on my clothing to wipe them.

So I did something I rarely do. I prayed. I don’t like praying for trivial things – I instantly think of all the people with bigger issues like starving children, victims of violence and well, you name it. I brought up the image of Jim Carey in his role as God bombarded with emails he simply couldn’t keep up with. Well, I did it anyway (keeping all those long suffering souls in mind.) Then I spotted it! My Puple otterbox case – my phone still inside it – and it was only halfway down the hill. I grabbed the tall grass and descended sideways when my shoulder bag/purse dumped its contents all over the muddy incline. I knew not to complain, even silently, because make-up is far cheaper to replace than an iphone. I thought of the 2 times I’d dumped my purse in that manner. Once in high school coming out of a class when my classmate made the snarky remark “Well, look, Mary – your face is all over the floor”………….I deserved that and thanks to FB, we’ve reconnected and I’ve made amends for the misdeeds that allowed her that remark.  The other time was coming out of the oral surgeon’s office after getting 4 wisdom teeth removed. I was still out of it and sat down in the middle of the waiting room and cried. All this was going through my head while I picked up my muddy mascara, eyeliner and lipstick while thinking “Look Mary – your face is all over the ditch.” I leaned carefully into the hill and retrieved my phone. Victory! I still had a long, wet and cold walk back to my car which I hoped hadn’t been towed. Happily, it was still alone in the lot and the gates  open.

Steve was surprised to see my phone on the move again as he tracked it from the office. He was actually disappointed he missed his chance to use the FIND YOUR PHONE app to its fullest. You see, using his phone we could have tracked it down to within ten feet and then turned on a signal. I wasn’t aware of this feature, but I was damned if I wasn’t going to try and find it before the rain ruined it. There would be a lot more rain before he made it home. (Actually, I could have waited – he got home right after I did)

When I got home I threw my wet clothes in the washer and took a long hot bath. Interestingly enough, that snarky classmate from high school had messaged me that she may have a lead on a dog sitter. Probably right around the time I was picking my makeup off the muddy hill. Life, eh?

Let’s Turn the Page for Monica Lewinsky

I’m guessing Monica Lewinsky’s name will resurface if Hillary Clinton decides to drop her name in the hat for the presidential election in 2016.

I read the Monica Lewinsky essay in Vanity Fair (June 2014) Monica’s 40 now. While the Clintons have obviously moved on, Monica hasn’t been as fortunate. (read the article for those details) However, I need to admit that I’ve been VERY wrong about Monica Lewinsky’s role in her relationship with Bill Clinton. After all these years, she still insists the relationship was consensual. For whatever reason, I’ve chosen to believe that it was a case of harassment, when indeed it was not.

That said, I also feel huge disappointment in all those who continued to humiliate Ms. Lewinsky with labels and vicious humor. (and Beyonce – really? The line in your “song” referring to Monica is pretty pathetic)

I’m also EXTREMELY disappointed in the women who were the Big Girls of the Feminist Movement. I thought these were the women who paved the way for us – fought for us and urged women to get join forces vs. relying on old behaviors such as competing and participating in catty commentary. Here are some of the things that the members of the Feminist Roundtable of 1998 had to say about Monica:

Lewinsky singles out a particularly egregious roundtable convened by the New York Observer in 1998 which included the writers Erica Jong and Katie Roiphe, wherein Lewinsky was referred to as “some non-brilliant woman” and “not that pretty.” The writer Nancy Friday suggested that as a next career step, “She can rent out her mouth.”

Jong: My dental hygienist pointed out that she had third-stage gum disease.

Friday: He likes Southern beauty-queen types. It’s what his mother said. Southern beauty queens have that big lips, big-hair look.

Prose: Isn’t it interesting that Bill doesn’t go for women that look like Hillary?

On reports that Hillary Clinton recently told a friend that Lewinsky was a “narcissistic loony tune” (Hillary also claimed she was a “stalker”)

The bestselling author of Backlash, Susan Faludi said, “If anything, it sounds like she put the moves on him,” and said Lewinsky had been “sleeping her way to the bottom of the Revlon empire.” (Shortly before the affair became public, Clinton’s friend Vernon Jordan had been trying to arrange a job for Lewinsky at Revlon in New York in part to get her away from the president.)

Betty Friedan weighed in, but only to huff her outrage that Clinton’s “enemies are attempting to bring him down through allegations about some dalliance with an intern… Whether it’s a fantasy, a set-up or true, I simply don’t care.”

There is no doubt these women forgot that catty remarks and snide comments are the antithesis of the Feminist Movement. What they didn’t forget was their allegiance to Bill Clinton for being so aggressive regarding women’s issues.

And she (Monica) requests one correction of Beyoncé, regarding the lyrics to her recent hit “Partition”:  (Monica speaking) “Thanks, Beyoncé, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ‘Bill Clinton’d all on my gown,’ not ‘Monica Lewinsky’d.’” Actual lyrics: He bucked all my buttons, he ripped my blouse He Monica Lewinski all on my gown

Kudos to David Letterman who somewhat apologized during his show in May of this year: Letterman then offers up some remorse regarding his jokes based on Monica Lewinsky:  (“I feel bad about my role in helping push the humiliation to the point of suffocation”), to which Walters simply replies, “Good. Then we can stop.”

Timing is Everything. A Throw Back Thursday Story.

I remembered something today that took place in the 90’s that really stuck with me. The entire event took about 5 minutes, but there were so many dynamics.

My friend Kathie Smith, her friend, Ron, Tim (my husband at the time), his friend Mark, both our kiddos and I were involved in this story. Kathie, Ron and Mark had come out to Colorado to stay with us and do some skiing. They rented a Cadillac and all of us, kids included had a blast driving up to Breckenridge from Denver one afternoon. We laughed with Ron who had never seen the mountains and said he expected them to look more like they did in the Road Runner cartoons.  His references, had me laughing so hard – especially because he was unaware just how many of them had to do with either cartoons or television shows from the 60’s. A passing vehicle looked “just like the one from DAKTARI!!” and then he commented on Tim’s arms – “Geez, Tim – do you work out or what? Your arms are just like Popeye’s”

It was good to have friends from home (MN) and we had a good meal in Breckenridge and left for home – all of us agreed Tim would be the best person to drive because he was a truck driver and very accustomed to mountain driving. Highway 285 was becoming pretty slick and the snow started coming down hard. Of course, it was very dark and we were a bit tense but not stressed.

Very quickly, Tim’s sharp eye caught a light in the trees – and it passed through twice while none of the rest of us noticed. Naturally, we were confused when he slowed the car down to a crawl. I asked him what was going on and he just said he saw a light in the trees to the right. Around the next curve, we came upon a jeep that had rolled over and was spinning on its roof.  Fuel was all over the road and the roof was smashed in leaving very little space between it and the drivers seat. The headlights had gone out and it was barely visible in the heavy snowfall.

What followed still amazes me in retrospect. As Tim pulled the car over, Ron and Mark volunteered “because we are single men” to approach the vehicle.(because of the leaking fuel and the risk of another car hitting the jeep on the dark road) Kathie instantly began trying to remember the order of things to do when helping an injured person and ordered me to stay with my kids because I was the mother and my kids needed me to be safe. We all instructed Tim to stay put because he had kids to take care of and bigger responsibilities. All 3 men went. I urged Kathie to stay with me until she knew whether or not the driver or possible passengers were injured and needed medical help of some sort. I’m pretty sure she left the vehicle but didn’t get as far as the guys did. The jeep took a final spin and the driver emerged, still wearing his cowboy hat. He was physically fine, but in a bit of shock. The men suggested everyone stay away from the jeep which was still spilling fuel on the road.

Incredibly, a highway patrolman came from the other direction and had no idea there had been an accident. He asked for our help – backing up a bit and putting on our flashers to warn any oncoming drivers there was an accident ahead because the jeep was in the center of the road and around a curve – anyone approaching from either direction would most likely hit it. When another officer arrived, he thanked us and sent us on our way.

It was a rather quiet 2.5 hour drive home. As often happens in the winter, once we hit the lower elevations, the roads were dry and clear and there was no indication it had even snowed. When we got the kids to bed and sat down for a beer, we reviewed how quickly we had made decisions and worked so well as a team for something we had never prepared ourselves for. Had Tim not seen that headlight flash briefly in the trees, we would have hit that jeep – it was too icy to avoid. The Highway Patrol Car was the first car to come along after the accident and as soon as we assisted the officer in setting up cones and triangles, several cars came from both directions.

I have no idea what stirred that memory today, but sometimes minutes really count. We couldn’t have asked for better timing. Tim passed in 2010 and it’s at times like this I’d like to pick up the phone and ask him if he remembers that night in the mountains when his quick thinking saved us and a stranger in a cowboy hat from what could have been a terrible accident.

You know, I think I do know why I thought about that incident afterall. I saw a sign on I-25 north today. “TRUCKERS”, it said, “WINTER IS COMING, GOT CHAINS?”………….